CITY OF UMATILLA AGENDA ITEM STAFF REPORT

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1 CITY OF UMATILLA AGENDA ITEM STAFF REPORT DATE: October 30, 2014 MEETING DATE: November 4, 2014 SUBJECT: Resolution ISSUE: Meeting Invocation Policy BACKGROUND SUMMARY: At the October 21 st meeting the City Attorney was directed to revise Resolution to allow for invocation to be delivered by the Mayor, a Council designee or other city employee in the event the scheduled invocation speaker or their substitute not appear at the appointed time. Revised Resolution shows the aforementioned changes on page 3, lines Other protocol presented during the October 21 st meeting remains unchanged: Invocation Speakers will be comprised of religious leaders and representatives of any and all local religions, denominations, faiths, creeds, and beliefs The City Clerk will establish and maintain an Invocation Speaker Rotation List database comprised of a broad and diverse religious assemblies within Umatilla and Lake County within 45 days of adoption of the resolution Invitations shall be mailed to religious assemblies within 60 days of the adoption of the resolution The database will be updated annually before November 1 st Invitations shall be extended annually to the names on the database on or about December 1 st using the sample invitation letter included in the resolution Prior review of the content of the Invocation to be given is not allowed A disclaimer is to be placed at the bottom of the Council meeting agenda, language for which is included in the resolution (lines ) The pledge and invocation will be given before the meeting is gaveled to order The Mayor or other Council designee shall introduce the Invocation Speaker and invite those who wish to participate to join in the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation The resolution provides for the Pledge of Allegiance and the Invocation being given prior to the gavel falling to open the Council meeting Resolution Revised Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

2 STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: Approval of revised Resolution , Meeting Invocation Policy FISCAL IMPACTS: $0.00 COUNCIL ACTION: Reviewed by City Attorney Yes No N/A Reviewed by City Engineer Yes No N/A Resolution Revised Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

3 RESOLUTION A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF UMATILLA, FLORIDA, ESTABLISHING CITY COUNCIL POLICY AND PROCEDURES REGARDING OPENING INVOCATIONS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. WHEREAS, the City Council (hereinafter the Council ) of the City of Umatilla (hereinafter the City ) is an elected legislative and deliberative public body, serving the citizens of the City; and WHEREAS, the Council wishes to maintain its tradition of solemnizing its proceedings with an opening invocation before each Council meeting for the benefit and blessing of the Council and the Council s work on behalf of the citizens of the City; and WHEREAS, the Council desires to establish and adopt the policy and procedures provided for in this Resolution in order to clarify and codify its invocation practices; and WHEREAS, the Founders of the United States of America recognized that we possess certain inalienable rights that cannot be awarded, surrendered, nor corrupted by human power, and the Founders explicitly attributed the endowment of these, our inalienable rights, to a Creator; and WHEREAS, these rights ultimately ensure the self-government manifest in deliberative public bodies and the Council desires to invoke divine guidance and blessing on the Council through invocation before commencement of each Council meeting; and WHEREAS, the practice of invocations before deliberative public bodies has been consistently upheld as Constitutional by American courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States; and WHEREAS, in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Nebraska Legislature s practice of opening each day of its sessions with a prayer delivered by a state-employed chaplain, and Chief Justice Burger, writing for the Court majority, specifically noted, the opening of sessions of legislative and other deliberative public bodies with prayer is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country. From colonial times through the founding of the Republic and ever since, the practice of legislative prayer has coexisted with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom. Id. At 786; and WHEREAS, the Council desires to avail itself of the Supreme Court s recognition that to invoke Divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making the laws is not, in these circumstances, an establishment of religion or a step toward establishment; it is simply a tolerable acknowledgement of beliefs widely held among the people of this country. Id.; and WHEREAS, the Supreme Court affirmed in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984), that our history is replete with official references to the value and invocation of Divine guidance 1 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

4 in deliberations and pronouncements of the Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders. Id. At 675; and WHEREAS, the Supreme Court further stated that government acknowledgements of religion serve, in the only ways reasonably possible in our culture, the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, worthy of appreciation in society. For that reason, and because of their history and ubiquity, those practices are not understood as conveying government approval of particular religious beliefs. Id. At 693 (O Connor, J., concurring); and WHEREAS, the Supreme Court observed in Zorach v. Clauson, 343 US (1952), we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. Id. At ; and WHEREAS, the Supreme Court acknowledged in Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892), that the American people have long followed a custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer Id. At 471; and WHEREAS, the Supreme Court has determined the content of the prayer is not of concern to judges where there is no indication that the prayer opportunity has been exploited to proselytize or advance any one, or to disparage any other, faith or belief. That being so, it is not for us to embark on a sensitive evaluation or to parse the content of a particular prayer. Marsh, 463 U.S. at ; and WHEREAS, the Supreme Court has counseled against the efforts of government officials to affirmatively screen, censor, prescribe and/or proscribe the specific content of public prayers offered by private speakers, as such government efforts would violate the First Amendment rights of those speakers. See, e.g., Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, (1992); and WHEREAS, in Pelphrey, et al v. Cobb County, Georgia, et al, 547 F.3d 1263 (11 th Cir., Oct. 28, 2008), the Eleventh Circuit held that the practice of allowing clergy to offer uncensored religious invocations at the beginning of sessions of a county Council and county planning Council did not violate the Establishment Clause, as long as the invocations did not advance or disparage a belief or affiliate government with a specific faith; and WHEREAS, the recent case of Atheists of Fla., Inc. v. City of Lakeland, 713 F.3d 577 (11 th Cir., March 26, 2013) provides further guidance as to acceptable invocation policy and procedures, where the Eleventh Circuit found that the policies and practices adopted by the Lakeland City Council regarding selection of invocation speakers did not support a finding that the City Council there attempted to exploit the prayer opportunity to proselytize or advance or disparage any one faith or belief. Id. at 593, nor do those policies and practices have the effect of affiliating the Lakeland City Council with any discrete faith or belief. Id..; and WHEREAS, the Council intends to adopt a similar policy that does not proselytize or advance any faith or show any purposeful preference of one religious view to the exclusion of others; and 2 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

5 WHEREAS, the Council recognizes its duty to interpret, construe, and amend its policies and ordinances to comply with constitutional requirements as they are interpreted by the courts; and WHEREAS, the Council accepts as binding the applicability of general principles of law and all of the rights and obligations afforded under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida. NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF UMATILLA, FLORIDA AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Adoption of Whereas clauses. The foregoing Whereas clauses are hereby adopted and incorporated herein. Section 2. Adoption of Invocation Policy. The Council hereby adopts the following policy and procedures regarding opening invocations for the Council before its meetings: 1. It is the intent of the Council to solemnize the proceedings of the Council by establishing a policy allowing an invocation for the benefit of the Council to be offered immediately prior to commencement of its meetings. 2. To that end, the Council hereby invites and welcomes the religious leaders and other representatives of any and all local religions, denominations, faiths, creeds, and beliefs, including but not limited to ministers, priests, chaplains, rabbis, deacons, clerics, and the like (hereinafter Invocation Speakers ), to participate in providing invocations for the Commission. 3. Shortly before the opening gavel that officially begins a Council meeting and the commencement of the public business before the Council, the Mayor or other Council designee shall introduce the Invocation Speaker and invite those persons in attendance who wish to do so to participate in the observance and to thereafter join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The Invocation Speaker may then voluntarily deliver the invocation for the Council, which shall be followed by the Pledge of Allegiance lead by the Mayor or other Council designee. No person in attendance is or shall be required to participate in these observances and the personal decision of each person regarding participation will have no impact on his or her right to actively participate in the Council meeting. 4. Should the scheduled Invocation Speaker or his or her substitute not appear at the appointed time to deliver the invocation, the Mayor, or other Council designee, or a City employee may either forego deliver the invocation or may offer a moment of silence. 5. Neither the Mayor, any other Councilmember, nor any employee of the City shall deliver an invocation. 56. In furtherance of the invocation policy adopted herein, the City Clerk shall establish and maintain an Invocation Speaker Rotation List (hereinafter List ) comprised of a 3 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

6 broad and diverse pool of religious leaders and other representatives of any and all local religions, denominations, faiths, creeds, and beliefs, including but not limited to ministers, priests, chaplains, rabbis, deacons, clerics, and the like, that have expressed an interest in providing invocations for the Council on a rotation basis (hereinafter Invocation Speakers ). Such List shall be established and maintained as follows: a. The City Clerk shall compile and maintain a database of religious assemblies with an established presence in the local community of Umatilla and Lake County (hereinafter Database ). The Database shall include the name of all such religious assemblies and contact information. The initial Database shall be compiled within forty-five (45) days after the effective date of this Resolution and shall be updated annually before November 1 of each year. The City Clerk may also periodically update the Database as needed upon receiving a request to add a religious assembly. b. The Database shall be compiled by referencing the listings for religious assemblies in print reference guides, online research, and by any other effective method in the discretion of the City Clerk, who shall make every reasonable effort to compile as broad and diverse a Database pool as possible from which to establish the List. Any other religious assembly not otherwise identified may request inclusion in the Database by written communication to the City Clerk. c. The Database shall also include the name and contact information of any religious assembly located outside of Umatilla and Lake County if such religious assembly is attended by a resident or residents of Umatilla or Lake County and such resident requests the inclusion of said religious assembly by written communication to the City Clerk. d. All religious assemblies in the Database are eligible to be, and shall be, invited to provide an Invocation Speaker for inclusion on the List by the City Clerk mailing an invitation addressed to a religious leader or other representative at each religious assembly in the Database. Such invitations shall be mailed within sixty (60) days after the effective date of this Resolution. Thereafter, commencing in 2014, the City Clerk shall send an invitation on or about December 1 st of each calendar year based on the updated Database in order to update the List. The City Clerk may also periodically send an invitation as needed to any additional religious assembly added to the Database. e. The invitation to provide an Invocation Speaker shall be dated and signed by the City Clerk on behalf of the Council and shall read substantially as follows: Dear (Name of Religious Leader or Representative), The City of Umatilla City Council invites and welcomes religious leaders and representatives including but not limited to ministers, priests, chaplains, rabbis, deacons, and clerics, of any and all local religions, denominations, faiths, creeds, and beliefs established within the City of Umatilla and Lake County community to voluntarily offer an invocation for the benefit and blessing of the City Council before the commencement of City Council public meetings. As the leader of one of the religious assemblies in the community or as the religious 4 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

7 leader of one or more Umatilla or Lake County residents, the City Council invites you to participate in offering this important service for a future public meeting of the City Council. If you or another representative from your assembly or congregation are willing to assist the City Council in this regard and be listed on the City Council s list of available invocation speakers, please send a written reply in the next thirty days to the City Clerk at the address included on this letterhead. A list of the dates of the City Commission s scheduled meetings for the upcoming year is attached. If you have a preferred date to offer an invocation for the City Council, please state that preference in our written reply, otherwise invocation speakers are invited on a rotation basis. This opportunity is voluntary, and you are free to offer the invocation according to the dictates of your own conscience. To maintain a spirit of respect and ecumenism, the City Council requests only that the invocation opportunity not be used as an effort to convert others to the particular faith of the invocation speaker, nor used to disparage any faith or belief or nonreligious view different than that of the invocation speaker. A copy of Resolution adopting the City Council s policy regarding opening invocations is attached for your information. On behalf of the City Council of the City of Umatilla, I thank you in advance for considering this invitation. Sincerely, City Clerk f. Those religious leaders and other representatives expressing an interest in participating as an Invocation Speaker shall be included on the List. g. The List shall be updated annually on or about the month of December by reasonable efforts of the City Clerk based on responses to the annual invitations. The City Clerk may also periodically update the List as needed upon request to add an Invocation Speaker and shall ensure that those added are sent a copy of this Resolution for their information. h. This procedure is intended to be and shall be pursued in a way that is allinclusive of every diverse religious assembly in Umatilla and Lake County and regardless of religion, denomination, faith, creed, or belief. The List shall be compiled and used for purposes of logistics, efficiency, and equal opportunity for all of the community s religious leaders and representatives, who may themselves choose whether to respond to the Council s invitation and whether to participate as an Invocation Speaker. 67. No Invocation Speaker shall receive compensation for his or her service. 78. The City Clerk shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that a broad variety of Invocation Speakers from different religions, denominations, faiths, creeds, and beliefs are 5 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

8 scheduled for Council meetings. In any event, no Invocation Speaker shall be scheduled to offer an invocation at consecutive meetings of the Council. 89. Neither the Council nor any employee of the City shall engage in any prior inquiry, review of, or involvement in, the content of any invocation to be offered by an Invocation Speaker. No guidelines or limitations shall be issued regarding the content of the invocation, except that the Council requests by the language of this Resolution that no prayer should proselytize any particular religion or faith or disparage the religious faith or nonreligious views of others. The Council reserves the right to limit from delivering invocations at future Council meetings any Invocation Speaker or religious leader or representative who violates the spirit and intent of this Resolution Although the giving of an invocation and the name of the Invocation Speaker delivering an invocation for the Council may be listed on the agenda published for a Council meeting, such entries shall not be nor considered an official agenda item for the public meeting nor considered part of the public business to be transacted by the Council. The City Clerk is authorized to adjust the Council s meeting agendas to comport with the provisions of this Resolution To make clear the Council s intentions as stated herein, a disclaimer shall be included in at least 10 point font at the bottom of each Council meeting agenda in substantially the following form: Any invocation that may be offered before the official start of the Council meeting is and shall be the voluntary offering of a private citizen to and for the benefit of the Council pursuant to Resolution The views and beliefs expressed by the invocation speaker have not been previously reviewed or approved by the Council and do not necessarily represent their individual religious beliefs, nor are the views or beliefs expressed intended to suggest allegiance to or preference for any particular religion, denomination, faith, creed, or belief by the Council or the City. No person in attendance at this meeting is or shall be required to participate in any invocation and such decision whether or not to participate will have no impact on his or her right to actively participate in the public meeting This policy is not intended and shall not be implemented or construed in any way to affiliate the Council or the City with or express any preference of the Council or City for or any disfavor against any religion, denomination, faith, creed, or belief. Rather, this policy is intended to acknowledge and express the Council s and City s respect for the diversity of religions, denominations, faiths, creeds, and beliefs represented and practiced among the citizens of Umatilla and Lake County. Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon its final adoption by the City Council of the City of Umatilla. PASSED AND RESOLVED this day of, 2014 by the City Council of the City of Umatilla, Florida. 6 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

9 Laura K. Wright Mayor Attest: Approved as to Form: Glenn A. Irby Kevin Stone/Katrina Stone/Lewis Stone City Manager City Attorney Passed First Reading: [Seal] 7 Resolution Meeting Invocation Policy City of Umatilla

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